Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Randy Gregory has been dominant. What does it mean for Cowboys' DL? Nolan Report

 The skies were ominous right out of the gate for the Cowboys defense on Sunday. Before Dallas could do much of anything, they were down 14-3 after Philadelphia went touchdown-touchdown to open the contest. Then, somehow, they limited the Eagles to a field goal the rest of the game. Surely this has something to do with the Eagles’ game-situation decisions to go for it a lot, and those risks and gambles going badly very fast.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Could Kellen Moore leave the Cowboys? What's next if he does? Decoding Kellen

 Very few could have honestly expected the performance we saw on Sunday from this Cowboys passing game. In spite of that, the game ended with us knowing exactly what we’d already known going in: It pays to have a quarterback. I don’t mean Pat Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. Of course that pays. But the difference in the two games versus Philadelphia is starting Ben DiNucci and rolling out Andy Dalton.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Cowboys surge continues as they rout Eagles, put NFC East in play: Morning After

 The thing I will always love most about sports is on full display yet again. Just when you think you have something figured out, the script flips and gets compelling again. We certainly focus on when we think a narrative is driving to a dream ending and then it falls and shatters on the floor.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

DeMarcus Lawrence makes plays on a unit that needs more plays made: Nolan Report

 When it rains, it pours. And, more specifically, a byproduct of playing against an inexperienced and often overwhelmed backup quarterback is that they tend to turn the ball over. The more of them you play, the more turnovers you find.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tony Pollard, Dalton Schultz primed for 2021 roles with Cowboys: Decoding Kellen

 This sport has many things to consider if you want to offer proper analysis to an audience of enthusiasts. My job is to attempt to provide a deeper look at how this offense is getting on and in what ways are both positive and negative things happening. For instance, is the offense we’ve seen over Dallas’ three wins in their last five games in any way better than the one they showed during a 2-7 start (and needed two miracles to win those home games against the Falcons and Giants)?

Dak Prescott outside Dallas? Could it happen, outside fits and draft strategy

 Dak Prescott’s unresolved contract status with the Dallas Cowboys just continues to pop up in the news. On Monday, as a victorious Cowboys squad prepared for a matchup with suddenly sensational rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas VP Stephen Jones told KRLD-FM that the Cowboys considered drafting Hurts last spring before reiterating the team’s “complete commitment” to Prescott, adding “We look forward to getting his deal at some point finished.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Cowboys' win over 49ers means tanking is out. That's a good thing: Morning After

 I don’t blame anyone who has moved on to literally anything else in their lives this Christmas season. If you have decided to enjoy Sunday walks or reading a book or learning the guitar instead of watching what is left of the 2020 Dallas Cowboys play out their string of games, I might question the level of “diehard” you claim to be, but I won’t question your ability to block out disappointment and keep your blood pressure under control. Sports are enjoyable until they are not.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Can Cowboys' leaky run defense slow 49ers' powerful ground game? Friday Riffing

 One hundred and twenty six days since the truncated Dallas Cowboys training camp held its first full practice in Frisco, 51 days until Super Bowl 55 in Tampa (we still assume) and just one day until the noon start at AT&T Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers…. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The minimum records for either of these two teams gearing up for the Week 15 “showdown” in Arlington was supposed to be something in the 9-7 range. More likely, 11-5 was about right for both.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Should Cowboys re-sign Aldon Smith? Analyzing his play & potential contract

 It is very possible that Sunday’s Cowboys-Bengals matchup was one of the most unwatchable games of this NFL season. Yes, there have been games with fewer points scored and fewer yards gained, but those usually included at least some compelling storylines that might have provided a reason to care. Starting in mid-December, however, you will find games between teams that have nothing to play for (aside from the absurdity of draft-pick spots).

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Is Cowboys' offensive line in better shape than we think? Decoding Kellen Moore

 The Cowboys won a game on Sunday by scoring 30 points with almost no impressive offensive statistics. They were 100 yards below average in total output, eight first downs below average and the time of possession was about as low as it has been all season. Funny what a little defensive help and some good field position can do for an offense. They went about their business, scored on five of seven actual drives and won without breaking a sweat.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Cowboys take advantage of Bengals giveaways to gift Dalton a win: Morning After

 We spend every year looking for the latest trends in the evolution of a complex game. There are always new approaches and tactics that move the entire sport in a new direction — and if you don’t keep up, you get left behind. The NFL rarely arrives at its new destination overnight. Rather, constant evolution continues to turn the wheel a little at a time. Over the course of five to ten years, the sport becomes unrecognizable from what it once was.

Friday, December 11, 2020

What should the Cowboys do as DBs drafted in 2017 near free agency? Nolan Report

 The Cowboys defense held the status quo in Baltimore on Tuesday night. I would like to think you read my Wednesday Morning After essay to know how I really feel and the reasons I think the defensive coordinator needs to be changed in 2021 (spoiler).

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Where Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb stacks up against NFL's top rookies: Decoding Kellen

 Our analysis of the Cowboys on a game-by-game and a snap-by-snap basis is only useful as long as the games have meaning, and I think we can safely say that their ninth loss of 2020 means we have crossed the threshold from meaningful to irrelevant football the rest of the way. In other words, there are some talking points on each side of the ball for the Baltimore game, but I cannot in clean conscience get too carried away about the details of the game in the big picture.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Cowboys defense steamrolled by Ravens. Time for Mike Nolan to go: Morning After

 If you are wondering what the Cowboys’ defensive strategy was last night in Baltimore, please know you are not alone. There were countless times when it was apparent several players were not reading from the same book. That’s a trend we’ve seen repeated week after week this season, with only a few respites to fool us into a false sense of belief that improvement was underway.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Cowboys-Ravens expectations? Riffing and breaking down a game without precedent

 One hundred and fifteen days since the truncated Dallas Cowboys training camp held its first full practice in Frisco, 62 days until Super Bowl 55 in Tampa (we still assume) and just one day until the 7:05 start at M&T Bank Stadium for Tuesday’s meeting with the Baltimore Ravens…. Things were going really well for the Baltimore Ravens a month ago. Their team was excellent, as it typically is, and the wins were piling up as they often do for a John Harbaugh-led team.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Cowboys bitten by fundamental issues, defensive talent deficit: Nolan Report

 There are many ways to describe the events of Thanksgiving Day without blaming the defense for much. History will not focus on their side of the losing effort, of course, because they were so darn close to tying the game themselves as Jaylon Smith ran a “look what I found” interception back as fast as he could before Terry McLaurin ran him down at the 4-yard line late in the third quarter. If he gets in, the score is 20-20, and the divisional crown is back in play. But he did not.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Cowboys fourth-down decisions shake confidence in coaches: Decoding Kellen Moore

 One week ago, we discussed, in this very space, a masterpiece Cowboys gameplan that put Mike Zimmer’s defense on its heels all day long. Dallas coaches played Minnesota like a guitar on their way to a near-perfect performance in the red zone, ultimately winding up with a road win against a team that hadn’t lost in a month — all while starting a second-string QB and backups in many key offensive line spots. Needless to say, they could not produce that supreme strategic advantage twice in a row.